Psalm 78 My people, hear my instruction; listen to the words from my mouth. I will declare wise sayings; I will speak mysteries from the past—things we have heard and known and that our fathers have passed down to us. We will not hide them from their children, but will tell a future generation the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, his might, and the wondrous works he has performed. He established a testimony in Jacob and set up a law in Israel which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children so that a future generation-children yet to be born—might know. They were to rise and tell their children so that they might put their confidence in God and not forget God’s works, but keep his commands. Then they would not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not loyal and whose spirit was not faithful to God.
God extended great mercy on Israel, his people. The psalmist began by recalling what God had done. God had been good to them. They sinned, and God extended even more mercy. The psalmist challenged the people to listen to his wise sayings. He indicated he knew what he knew, because their fathers had passed down to them what they knew about God.
In turn, the psalmist said he would not hide these great mysteries, but would tell the generation to follow of the praiseworthy acts of the Lord and the wondrous works he had performed. God commanded the fathers to teach their children so the future generation would know.
What was the goal of teaching their children? The goal of teaching, was for the generation to follow to put their confidence in God, and keep his commands. God wanted them to be loyal to him. Fathers have the primary responsibility in the home to teach the things of God, and provide spiritual leadership, so their children will put their confidence in God and keep his commands. Yet the reality is, many men who are professing believers, are not fulfilling their responsibility to God and to their children.
What are some ways fathers can fulfill their responsibility to pass on the faith to their children?
First, a father must be faithful to God if he intends to pass on his faith to his children. There is no substitute for walking with God in prayer and the Word. A relationship with God will shape every area of life for the good.
Second, a father should live his faith outwardly. A quiet, private, reticent faith, is very difficult to learn from and emulate. Children should hear about their father’s struggles and victories in his walk with God. They should see their father share the Gospel with others.
Third, a father should take the lead in spiritual devotions in the home. An age appropriate, consistent time of family devotion will prove to be transformational for a family in the long run. When family members participate in prayer, reading the Word, and discussing what God is doing in their lives, it is powerful.
Fourth, a father should love his wife and the mother of his children. The love he shows to her will be an example of the love of Christ and one for his children to learn from. A home where there is much love, will be a home of peace and stability.
Fifth, a father ought to be the same at home as he is in public, and vice versa. There is no room for duplicity or hypocrisy. Nothing will minimize all a father says, more quickly than inconsistency in his life. Be steady, dependable, and real in front of your children.
There are no perfect fathers. There are no perfect mothers. There are no perfect children. There are no perfect families. Yet there are faithful fathers, faithful mothers, faithful children, and faithful families. May our hearts be loyal and our spirits faithful to God.
Happy Father’s Day!